Victoria Nordlund, Back to the Future

Back to the Future

I used to work at the concession stand at Showcase Cinemas in 1985.
We didn’t have a cash register and stuffed dollars in a slot.

Popped kernels in a back room, stored them to the ceiling in jumbo-sized
garbage bags. There were rumors of rats but I never got to see one.

Movies and soda and popcorn and damaged bags of Reese’s Pieces were the perks.
Girls weren’t allowed to be ushers but we never minded that

or that we got paid $3.30 an hour and had to work on the Fourth of July.
We went up to the roof to watch the fireworks and drank Franzia Blush

then caught a midnight showing of Back to the Future that I had watched
59 times (Not counting the segments I saw during my breaks.) I wanted a Delorean

and Marty’s puffy red vest, and Marty so bad. And I went back to see it again
with my friend, Denise after my Junior Prom. And we were teens

and the parents looked so old and I thought I was cool in my lace gown,
high-top converse sneakers, and an X-large carnation corsage.

And I am thinking about this on 1-84 during my commute to work
because they razed the theater last year and now there is just a fence

and space and snow where something used to be. Great Scott. This is heavy.
You’re going to see some serious shit. I guess we weren’t ready for any of this yet.

And Jung’s Red Book Remains Incomplete Too

I was picking up a pumpkin for Halloween except I knew it wasn’t October, except it wasn’t a pumpkin. It became a horse. They were all grey horses, or maybe they were white, or maybe I wanted

them to be white. There was no one else in line– but I was waiting and there was staff at check points–Even though no one else was in line and a smile-less someone handed me a big cherry

red book with fairy lights as my gift. It was really heavy. And I am pretty sure I owned the book in a different edition. Maybe it was a Bible. I considered asking for a different one but I didn’t want to

make waves and I didn’t question why I was waiting in this line that wasn’t a line, or why I was given this book, or why I was picking up a horse, or why I couldn’t think of what month it was and I noted

that I was not wearing a mask. And the workers were not wearing masks. But somehow that was ok and there were green carpeted stairs and doorway after doorway but no other people waiting and I tried to

remember why I needed this grey maybe white horse and I inquired how I was going to get this horse in my car. Usually I bring a trailer but I forgot this time and a girl worker said to put him in my back

seat with a seat belt and I somehow accepted this too and now there was a loud woman in purple running tights cutting in front of me who wasn’t accepting the wait. I toyed with the idea of

pushing her down the stairs but she was too fast and slipped through a doorway to collect her horse and now there is no staff controlling no line. It is just me here waiting with no satisfying ending.

I never get the horse. I am still in line with a heavy red book I have already read, wondering what month it is, wishing I could wake up.

Elysia Marginata

a sea slug
in a vast tank of mollusks
decides today is the day

to dissolve
the tissue around her neck and
ditch her body.

She is tired of the parasites
that have weighed her down
for so long.

You assume she will die quickly
without a heart
or all those other parts of her

you thought were important.
You note Elysia’s severed
head moving around contently

munching algae. She is preparing
to surprise you — despite everything
she will continue to live,

regenerate her lost
body, and emerge new
without your blessing.

Westron Wynde

(After John Taverner)

West wind,
when will it blow?

The narrow rain came
when I longed

for none.
When I thought

I wanted sun.
And I’m back

in bed
when my love

was my army.
Cannot go back

to March
pouring down.

there is only shine
in these draughts

of faded memory
of steeped desire.

When Doves Die

TMZ tells me that Prince’s white dove,
Divinity, aged 28, died peacefully Tuesday of old age.
This is the last original dove. Majesty died first.
The rest are offspring
that are still holding on to their pride.
I picture a courtyard in Paisley Park
with the oceans of violets in bloom
and animals striking curious poses
looking for Divinity while the other doves mourn
and lament and coo over her loss.
Never satisfied, I google that these birds produce tears
and wonder if they feel loss, if they tremble inside.
After Prince passed his doves went silent
until his songs were played for them again—
And they cried, got bold, got demanding.
I also discovered that doves have really good recall.
Can memorize 880 to 1200 images before they
start to fill. So, maybe Divinity remembered–
And dug the picture, felt the heat, and wondered
why the world was so cold.

Victoria Nordlund’s poetry collection Wine-Dark Sea was published by Main Street Rag in 2020. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Chestnut Review, Pidgeonholes, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. Visit her at

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